Twelve Left and secular parties would meet in New Delhi on Tuesday to firm up the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative and announce its policy direction, aiming at giving shape to a new combination for the general elections.
Asserting that the electoral battle would be fought in a three-cornered contest among Congress-led UPA, BJP-led NDA and the non-Congress, non-BJP combination, Left sources said these 12 parties would pool in their strength from their respective states for an all-India combination.
Apart from the four Left parties, the others in this combination are JD(U), BJD, AIADMK, JD(S), Samajwadi Party, Asom Gana Parishad, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and Manpreet Singh Badal’s People’s Party of Punjab. Among those likely to attend are chief ministers Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, veteran CPI leader A. B. Bardhan, CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy, JVM(P) chief Babulal Marandi, AGP’s Prafulla Mahanta and Manpreet Badal.
Some more parties could join the combination soon, the sources said, adding that these parties had formed a block to jointly raise specific issues in Parliament during the last session.
On Tuesday’s meeting, the parties are likely to come out with a broad outline of political positions and policies against Congress and BJP and decide on how to strengthen efforts of the constituent political parties in the elections in their respective states. This does not necessarily mean that all these parties would enter into alliances or go for seat adjustments in all states for the upcoming general elections, the sources said.
They said a statement, setting out the basic framework, the principles and direction of the alternative combination, is likely to be issued on Tuesday. CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had earlier said that the emergence of such an alternative would become “the rallying point for all the secular-democratic forces in the country who want to see an end to Congress rule and who want to prevent the party with a communal ideology coming to power at the Centre”.
He had noted that in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the combined vote percentage polled by Congress and BJP was 46.7 and 47.4 per cent respectively. “Since then, Assembly elections in various states have shown the strength of regional parties which were able to win substantial support and form governments,” he said.